Classroom Resources

The Classroom Teacher, summer 2013

You may have heard of Common Sense Media earlier this year when the national nonprofit partnered with Texas education groups, including TCTA, to co-sponsor the first statewide Digital Citizenship Day on March 5. To help support that initiative, focused on teaching students to be responsible and safe in a digital world, CSM provided a free digital literacy and citizenship toolkit. But, like that toolkit, the CSM website is a rich resource any day of the year.

According to CSM, 90 percent of teachers believe digital citizenship skills are critically important for students, but 55 percent say students’ knowledge about how to engage safely and responsibly with technology is fair to poor. That’s where comes in. The organization’s mission is to provide the trustworthy information, education and independent voice kids and families need to thrive in a world of media and technology.

K-12 curriculum

When you click on the “Educators” tab, you’ll find a variety of free resources, including a digital literacy and citizenship curriculum for K-12. The scope and sequence tool allows you to browse lessons by grade and topic, which range from creative credit and copyright to privacy and security.

The lessons were developed by researchers across the U.S., including those from The GoodPlay Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero. They contain a learning overview and objectives, list of materials and preparation instructions, and teaching plans.


Downloadable toolkits similar to the Digital Citizenship Day one also are available. The E-rate toolkit is intended for schools receiving E-rate discounts; they must comply with the Internet safety educational requirements outlined in the Children’s Internet Protection Act. The teachers’ toolkit is a selection of lessons from CSM’s curriculum designed to help teach students how to use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly.

“Standing Up, Not Standing By” provides age-appropriate materials and lessons on cyberbullying.

And the “Girls, Boys, and Media” toolkit is designed to help students become aware of how gender impacts their digital media lives.

Digital Passport

Digital Passport is a free, interactive (game-like) curricular tool that helps teach third- through fifth-grade students about digital literacy and citizenship. Web-based games and videos make it fun for students to learn about personal safety, respecting others online, and how to engage in an online community.

Professional development

The “Educator” tab also hosts links to technology-related webinars and online training for teachers using CSM’s curriculum. And the educators’ blog offers tech-savvy insight into hot topics like Google Glass and Snapchat, a new app that allows users to take and send photos that “self-destruct” in 10 seconds.

Media reviews

Though geared toward parents, the reviews section of the CSM site may be useful to teachers as well. It includes ratings and both parent and kid reviews of thousands of movies, TV shows, songs, books, video games, apps and websites. Ratings are based on a combination of age-appropriateness and quality.

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